Interoperability Challenges of Providers


At the epicenter of the healthcare scene, providers play a vital role in delivery of healthcare. They are key stakeholders in the healthcare cycle and impact the almost everyone– patients, clinics, hospitals, laboratories, radiology labs and the government.

Information technology solutions have altered the way providers interact with patients and provide care. A slew of Health IT solutions are released each day and it is difficult for providers to constantly learn and unlearn different IT systems. Interoperability has been touted as one of the solutions to this problem.

The Wikipedia definition of Interoperability is so seemingly simple – “Interoperability is the ability of making systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate).” If only interoperability was that simple to implement.

Unfortunately, connecting disparate systems and making them talk to each other is not a rosy picture. What are the interoperability challenges a provider faces in the US Healthcare scene?

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Multiple EMR/EHR Screens

  • Many hospitals have as many as 20 to 25 EHR/EHR systems installed in their facilities.
  • Providers need to learn how to work on multiple EHRs and that slows them down.

Restricted Lab Ordering

  • EHR vendors do not support all lab networks. They tie the provider into using a selected network of labs.
  • This makes it difficult for the provider to place orders to ‘out-of-network’ labs. The lab order has to be placed manually and transferring the data becomes a big hassle.

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Delayed Access to Information

  • Doctors use smartphones proactively and studies have indicated need to receive critical alerts like lab results, patient status on their smartphones.
  • Most EHRs require a computer check-in to get even the simplest of information. This is a hold up of the doctor’s time.
  • Again, secure instant messaging systems communication improves healthcare. Labs and doctors can communicate faster and better and results in huge savings.

Patient History Centralization

  • When patients move from one physician to another, the corresponding patient history also has to get transferred.
  • For instance, if a lab order if placed manually with a lab not supported by the EHR, this data can get missed. This can result in messy situations in case of a medical emergency.


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